July 28, 2009 Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is currently involved in peacebuilding operations in Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands; Australian government agencies remain engaged in reconstruction in post-conflict Bougainville (Papua New Guinea). Peacebuilding has been and will remain a major task for the ADF in the Pacific, as part of a larger governmental and aid response. The wider context for these commitments is the view that state incapacity or even failure is in prospect in parts of Australia’s immediate Pacific region. The causes of state failure include lack of a diversified economy, a dependence on exports of natural resources, a rapidly growing population, and poor education levels; a number of Pacific countries exhibit these characteristics. The conflict on Bougainville has been the most intractable in which Australian forces have been involved. The formation of Peace Monitoring Groups (largely composed of ADF personnel, but unarmed) engaged in weapons destruction, building trust and encouraging the eventual realisation of local autonomy was a major contribution to the peace process. The ADF experience of Timor-Leste dates from INTERFET. The need to redeploy peacekeeping troops in 2006 demonstrated that the existing peacebuilding program focused especially on security sector reform, while positive was still too narrow to address governance incapacity problems. From 2003 ADF elements have been central to the RAMSI reconstruction program in Solomon Islands. Though violence has largely been eradicated, the political crisis of 2006 demonstrated the need for the closest cooperation with the host government. These regional case studies show that peacebuilding is a complex task which requires engagement across all of the institutions of order and governance as well as with the wider society. Security sector reform remains a crucial area of peacebuilding in which military forces are inextricably involved. However, effective security reform depends ultimately upon the existence of governments that welcome, support, and own such reform....
In recent years, the Pacific has not been an ocean of peace. After a generally harmonious transition from European colonialism to independence, a number of the small Pacific island states have been plagued by internal conflict.
The largest of the Pacific island states, Papua New Guinea, having withstood the challenge of regional separatist groups in Papua and in Bougainville on the eve of independence, faced a rebellion on Bougainville from 1988 to 1997 (and is still in the process of implementing a peace agreement) and has seen an escalation of local-level inter-group fighting in the central highlands over the past two decades. Fiji became the first Pacific island state to have a military coup, in 1987, and continues to suffer the effects of racially-based tensions. In the Solomon Islands, ethnic divisions contributed to an outbreak of violence on the island of Guadalcanal in 1998, which culminated in the effective collapse of government two years later. Vanuatu’s transition to independence was marred by a separatist rebellion on the island of Santo, and although it has enjoyed a relatively peaceful history since 1980 it has had to survive more than one constitutional crisis. In New Caledonia, independence demands by the indigenous kanak people resulted in violent confrontation between pro- and anti-independence groups in the 1980s, and New Caledonia remains a French dependency.
While each of these cases is, to some extent, a unique reflection of particular historical and other circumstances, there are some recurring features of the internal conflicts, which largely derive from the fragmented nature of the pre-colonial societies and/or ethnic divisions created by the influx of settler populations during the colonial period, and the absence, in all these cases, of a developed sense of national (as opposed to local) identity.
This paper will briefly describe the nature of the conflicts in each of the four states and one territory listed above, and the processes of conflict resolution in each. It will then attempt to identify what features are common and what are unique in the five cases, and to suggest some lessons from their experience, which might be relevant to conflict and peace-making elsewhere....
Internal conflict has become the predominant threat to the security and stability of many of the small island nations of the Southwest Pacific and particularly in the countries of Melanesia.
Since the late 1980s, conflicts of varying causes and degrees of intensity have occurred in Papua New Guinea (Bougainville secession attempt)i, Fiji (coups and attempted coups), Vanuatu (police rebellion) and Solomon Islands (ethnic conflict and coup).
These events have seriously debilitated the already fragile national economies and polities of all countries, so much so in the Solomon Islands that that country is now being described by many analysts as a “failing”, if not “failed”, state.ii
While most of these countries have so far been able (not without difficulty) to maintain a measure of state integrity, the situation in Solomon Islands has become so precarious that Australia and New Zealand (with the support of most Pacific Island governments and anticipating a request from the Solomons’ parliament) are preparing to intervene in an attempt to restore the rule of law and rebuild administrative institutions. The form of that intervention is not yet clear - it is thought likely to include up to 2,000 armed military and police with a large team of civilian technical personnel – nor has a mandate been determined.
In this context a host of questions arises as to how best to resolve, contain, manage and/or transform these internal conflicts in the interest of the security, stability and well-being of the peoples of the countries concerned and of the region as a whole. The purpose of this paper is to consider one form of conflict management undertaken recently in the region; that is, the peace monitoring interventions by Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific Island Countries (PICs) in Bougainville and Solomon Islands. How useful have these exercises been in assisting peace processes and in conflict management/peace construction, and what lessons can be drawn from them for any future such operations - including perhaps for the more vigorous “co-operative intervention” currently in prospect?...
May 24, 2006 Australian National University // State, Society And Governance In Melanesia Project
The decade since the early 1990s has witnessed the growth of a field of research and practice aimed at resolving and preventing violent conflict. Research on violent conflict has led to a number of different theories on causes of violent conflict, many of them based on the study of large-scale, protracted conflicts in Africa and the Balkans. Advocates of conflict prevention have linked longer-term root causes of violent conflict to aspects of underdevelopment, and tensions inherent in development processes....
November 10, 2005 Australia National University // Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
This Discussion Paper was written as a
contribution to policy deliberations on how
the xe2x80x98Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon
Islands' might assist the people and government
of Solomon Islands rebuild their state and nation
after years of divisive and debilitating internal
conflict. Issues raised in the paper will have
relevance for policy-makers, donor agencies and
June 8, 2006 Government of Australia // Department of Defence
Operation Anode is the name of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). RAMSI's assistance is known as Operation HELPEM FREN (Pidgin English for 'Helping Friend'). RAMSI's mission is to assist the Solomon Islands' Government in restoring law and order. The military component of RAMSI comprises of personnel from five troop contributing nations. They are; Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga. The main task for the military component is to provide security for RAMSI's multinational Participating Police Force....
January 25, 2006 United Nations // United Nations Development Fund for Women
Women play a vital role in creating and maintaining peace at the community level in the Solomon Islands and they have been greatly affected by the conflict through displacement, vulnerability to rape, harassment, and economic hardship. Despite their exclusion from formal decision-making processes, Solomon Islander women have moved between the different combatant groups persuading men to lay down arms; women negotiators took on the traditional go-between role, which is a traditional method of conflict resolution in the Solomon Islands....
Ethnic tension escalated on Guadalcanal in December 1998, although tensions had ebbed and flowed for some years before that. Guadalcanal people resented the influence of settlers from other islands and their occupation of land. The settlers, particularly from Malaita, were drawn to Honiara and its environs by economic opportunities.
During 1999 ethnic violence perpetrated by some indigenous residents of Guadalcanal against immigrants from Malaita (both constituent parts of the country) led to several deaths, kidnapings, and the flight of nearly 23,000 persons from Guadalcanal. An uncounted number of Guadalcanal villagers also abandoned their homes to hide in the bush for extended periods, due to fear of militant and police activity or retribution from dispossessed Malaitans. ...
The Bougainville Revolution was a nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville which ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives.
Bougainville is a large island and the largest of the Solomon Islands. It is a province of Papua New Guinea, and lies to the east of the mainland. It has a population of about 200,000. Bougainville has substantial mineral resources, which became the source of its conflict.
The problem originated over the Panguna mine, which is owned by CRA Explorations. This mine is vitally important to the Papuan New Guinea economy, and although it is on Bougainville, the Bougainvilleans do not profit from it. The people of Bougainville began voicing their dissatisfaction with these arrangements in the late 1960s. Although the Bougainvilleans gained some autonomy in 1972, they were denied both complete autonomy and the profits from their mines from the Papuan Parliament. ...
March 16, 2005 International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Ante Gotovina, a former French Legionnaire of the rank of Chief Corporal, returned to Croatia in June 1991, whereupon he was appointed Chief of Operations and Training of the 1st Brigade of the Zbor Narodne Garde ("ZNG") (National Guard Corps). From February to April 1992, he was Deputy to the Commander of the Special Unit of the Main Staff of the Croatian army, the Hrvatska Vojska (the "HV"), and from April to October 1992, he was assigned to the Croatian Defence Council, the Hrvatsko Vijece Obrane (the "HVO"). On 9 October 1992, Ante Gotovina, holding the rank of Brigadier, was appointed the Commander of the Split Operative Zone of the HV (which in 1993 was re-named the Split Military District), and held that command until March 1996. On 30 May 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Major General. By early August 1995, he had been promoted to the rank of Colonel General. On 4 August 1995, the Republic of Croatia launched a military offensive known as "Oluja" or "Storm" ("Operation Storm"), with the objective of re-taking the Krajina region. Ante Gotovina was the overall operational commander of the Croatian forces that were deployed as part of Operation Storm in the southern portion of the Krajina region, including the municipalities, in whole or in part, of Benkovac, Gracac, Knin, Obrovac, Sibenik, Sinj and Zadar. On 7 August 1995, the Croatian government announced that the Operation had been successfully completed. Follow-up actions continued until about 15 November 1995. Between 4 August 1995 and 15 November 1995, the accused Ante Gotovina, acting individually and/or in concert with other members of the joint criminal enterprise, planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, or execution of persecutions of the Krajina Serb population in the southern portion of the Krajina region. The crime of persecutions was perpetrated through the following: plunder of public or private property, destruction of property, deportation and forced displacement, murder and other inhumane acts...
In July 2003, under Operation Helpem Fren, the 16 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum deployed troops, police and civilian advisors to Solomon Islands through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). As of late-2007, there were are over 350 Australian police and military personnel serving in Solomon Islands as part of RAMSI, together with more than 150 civilian advisors. The military forces are tasked to provide security for police and civilian staff who make up RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) - over 220 police from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and state police forces are part of the PPF, which also includes police contingents from around the region. Under Operation Anode, the ADF has deployed a military contingent to support the policing operation in Solomon Islands. ADF personnel are the largest contingent in a Combined Task Force serrving together with New Zealand, PNG, Fijian and Tongan troops. Australian civilian advisers make up the overwhelming majority of RAMSI staff working in various Government ministries and in RAMSI-supported projects. The numbers of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed to Solomon Islands have varied over time - after an initial deployment of over 1,400 people in July 2003, the number of troops has wound down, and the military component has recently been supplemented by rotations of reserve troops from Australia and New Zealand....
March 11, 2010 Country Indicators for Foreign Policy // Carleton University
In the late 1990s, violence erupted between Guadalcanalese and Malaitan citizens on the main island of Guadalcanal. At the root of
the conflict was the anger felt by some Guadalcanal leaders over what they considered to be unfair land policies. Rival militias were formed
and by 1998 the country dissolved into violence. The Isatabu Freedom Movement, ostensibly representing the Guadalcanalese, forced
approximately 20,000 Malaitans off Guadalcanal Island. In 2000, after the failure of several reconciliation ceremonies, the Malaitan Eagle
Force abducted Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu and forced him to resign for failing to respond adequately to this violence.
The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) arrived in 2003, having been formally requested by the Governor‐
General. RAMSI has had a profound effect in shaping the Solomon Islands' recent history, as it has focused on stabilizing the country by
improving governance. However, there remains a moderate potential for the re‐emergence of violent conflict due to a number of factors
including: failure to adequately address the root causes of the 1998‐2003 conflict, an unstable and ineffective government, an unsustainable
economy, the effects of climate change and natural disasters, poor human development, demographic stress, and the lack of a clear exit
strategy for RAMSI. The country lacks the capacity to effectively deal with economic and environmental crises, and left unchecked this has
the strong potential to result in renewed violent conflict.
February 24, 2010 United Nations Development Programme Pacific Centre // Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
In the last couple of decades, debate within the international community and the Pacific has centred on the challenges posed to socio-economic and political development by insecurity and conflict. This focus has also resulted in a shifting understanding of security, which now includes the safety and well-being of people and communities as well as the security of the state.
The Pacific, like other regions, is dealing with a difficult and diverse set of law enforcement, governance and security challenges. The region has witnessed violent conflict, civil unrest and political crises. This has led to a growing recognition of the critical role of law enforcement agencies and security institutions. However, in recent years, there have been concerns that these institutions lack capacity to meet the challenge of providing security to the general public; that governments do not have the necessary civilian security expertise to manage them; that legislatures are not empowered to oversee them; and that security forces are not held accountable under the law for their actions. Effective governance of security institutions is vital for the Pacific region. In the context of conflict and violence, it supports the efforts of state institutions to stabilize the security situation, begin the road to recovery and reduce the potential of relapse. In non-conflict contexts, it ensures security institutions fulfil their mandate to combat insecurity. This creates an enabling environment for poverty reduction and sustainable development....
November 26, 2009 Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
As agreed by Member States at the 2005 World Summit, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
rests on three pillars: the responsibility of the State to protect its own population from
genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; the duty of the
international community to provide States with assistance and capacity-building; and the
international community’s responsibility to take timely and decisive action, in accordance with
Chapters VI, VII and VIII of the UN Charter, in cases where the State is manifestly failing in its
responsibility to protect. Of the three pillars, the measures that States, regional and sub-regional arrangements and
the UN might take to exercise their pillar two responsibilities are least well understood. The
range of possible assistance that might be provided to State extends from small scale
bilateral partnerships relating to technical matters, to different forms of targeted development
assistance, to comprehensive and multifaceted assistance arrangements. The key thing that
unites all of these measures is that they involve partnerships and require the express
invitation of the host State. In short, pillar two activities are primarily concerned with assisting
the State to exercise its responsibility to protect. By doing so, pillar two actively strengthens
the State and its sovereignty. In the past decade, there has been a flourishing of global
partnerships aimed at strengthening States. Much of this activity make a direct contribution to
helping States exercise their R2P and should therefore be properly understood as pillar two
This case study report briefly considers one such example – the Regional Assistance Mission
to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI)....
November 26, 2009 Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
In July 2009, the UN General Assembly held an Interactive Informal Dialogue and plenary session on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). The dialogue provided the first opportunity for the UN membership as a whole to discuss implementation of the 2005 World Summit’s commitment to the RtoP and the UN Secretary-General’s report on the matter. Fifteen governments from the Asia-Pacific region, namely Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, China, Vietnam, Solomon Islands, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, DPRK, PNG and Malaysia, participated in the dialogue. This culminated in a resolution co-sponsored by, inter alia, Australia, Fiji, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Timor-Leste and New Zealand that noted the Secretary-General’s report, observed the fruitfulness of the interactive dialogue, and committed the Assembly to further consideration of the RtoP.
According to the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, one of the most significant aspects of the dialogue was the positive transformation of attitudes towards the RtoP within the Asia-Pacific region. Having previously been considered the region most opposed to the RtoP, the region now boasts near unanimity in its endorsement of the principle and the Secretary-General’s efforts towards its implementation (with the exception of North Korea)....
This paper suggests ways by which the
Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands
(RAMSI) and Australian policy generally might
assist in building state and nation in Solomon
Islands. The first section of our paper briefly surveys
the experience of nation and state building in
other parts of the world, and the second examines
the Solomon Islands context and how the country
came to be in its present plight. These sections
establish that there are few successful models from
which to draw lessons, and offer some guidance
on the kinds of reforms and of development
assistance required in the Solomons.
We then propose approaches RAMSI should
adopt in the Initial Phase (Phase I) and in the
Post-Stabilisation Phase (Phase II). Although we
accept Phase I – Phase II terminology, the options
and our recommendations are not necessarily
sequential. Most should be set in motion from
the outset. Our major recommendation is that
attention should be focused on helping establish
processes – robust and sustainable – by which
change in key areas of governance can be effected
in large part by Solomon Islanders.
For Phase II we recommend a focus on revisiting
(cautiously) the constitutional review
process with a view to broadening the debate
on federalism; strengthening the key decision
making institutions; encouraging civil society;
and giving sustained attention to policy on law
and justice, communications, rural development,
youth affairs and ‘flashpoints’, especially Honiara.
In conclusion we review long- and short-term
risks and obstacles that could undo or hinder the
recovery and regeneration of Solomon Islands....